Three Commodores named early contenders for 2011 football honors

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 9:05pm
Staff reports

A trio of Vanderbilt football players were named to preseason watch lists for national awards.

On Wednesday, Brandon Barden was one of 34 players named to the watch list for the Mackey Award, which is awarded annually to the nation’s top tight end.

That came a day after linebacker Chris Marve and defensive back Casey Hayward were named to the Bednarik Award watch list. They are among 65 players nationwide who are being considered for the award that goes to the country’s best defensive player.

Barden is the Southeastern Conference’s active leader in receptions (91) and receiving yards (991). The senior from Lincolnton, Ga., has eight career touchdown catches. Last year he led the Commodores with 34 receptions and 425 receiving yards.

Marve, a two-time All-SEC selection from Memphis, is the league’s active career leader with 306 tackles entering his senior season. He had 80 tackles in 2010, with a career-high eight tackles for loss. He has also been named a preseason candidate for the Lott Impact Trophy.

Hayward, a native of Perry, Ga., intercepted six passes during his junior campaign last year to go along with a league-best 17 passes defended. He is also a candidate for the Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive back.

In addition, Tennessee safety Prentiss Waggner was named to the Bednarik Award watch list. He recorded 57 tackles in 2010, which was fifth-most on the team.

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and running back Tauren Poole were named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is presented to the country’s most outstanding player. In just five starts as a freshman last year, Bray threw for 1,849 yards and 18 touchdowns as the Vols won their last four regular-season games. Poole, a senior, led the team with 1,034 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.